Child. Parent. Business Partner. Domestic Partner. Wife. Husband. Landlord. These are some of the different options listed under “relationship” when opening or adding another onto a bank account. It was a much longer list but the woman helping us spoke so fast I didn’t catch more than half of them.
For this post, I figured I would share about a couple different happenings on our financial scene that I’ve been wanting to record for reference. First, as you may have guessed, would be joint bank accounts.
L and I have had one since we moved in together. It was created almost entirely for the convenience of paying shared bills such as rent, utilities, and food, though now we have a bit of joint savings as well. Sometimes we use it for things like dates or individually for lunch. We kept our individual bank accounts and maintain quite a bit of financial autonomy (autonomy in long-term relationships: that’s another topic I’d like to tackle someday in the near future). We pay our own individual bills separately and have our own individual savings (when we can afford it). Because they tend to be more financially-minded and tend to prefer control over it, we’ve come into the habit of L paying all our bills via this account while I just usually dump money into it. It’s worked for us for the 7 years we’ve lived together. D moved in last spring and this did not change much financially.
However, soon L will be moving down to Florida for 4 months before we join them. This will be the first time D and I will be living alone together (another topic I hope to cover in the future) and paying bills just the two of us for the most part. This shift has been a source of stress for me as I wasn’t sure logistically how it would work. Do I open up a separate joint bank account with D? Does L still pay all the bills via our joint and I just put money into it (they offered this very thing)? I guess these are simple questions, but finances can really stress me out very quickly. Plus, despite my belief that you don’t have to follow any sort of “relationship escalator” or actions can mean whatever you decide them to mean in your own relationship, getting a joint account seems like a Big Relationship Step for me – so there’s some emotional-ness to it all.
To make things more interesting, D and I have been talking about our first big joint purchase together – getting a new, bigger, more comfortable bed. We currently sleep on his, which is a full, and we’d like to get a queen, preferably memory foam. D is also much more interested in budgets and such so he has spreadsheets and different number crunching sessions – me, I immediately bought a new 60 inch TV when we moved and I got my tax return, because I wanted our new living room to have a nice entertainment center. We’re just all very different people when it comes to money. But it’s ok, because we all know this and acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses.
Anyway, while we were having all these sorta stressful but necessary conversations about money and we are coming to the conclusion that D and I should have a joint account probably, and what does that look like now and what will it look like when we’re all together in Florida again, L cuts in with “Why don’t we just add D to our joint bank account?”
Well now that’s an idea.
This is how we wound up at the bank on a very intensely snowy Saturday when the question “What is your relationship?” was asked. I paused, swallowing a “Why is it anyone’s business” (which is the private Cancer in me, because the ENFP is like “Well let me explain this…”) before I simply ask “What are the options?” I pick domestic partner, which is I think what I’m listed as with L, too.
In short, I think the only place we’ve been recognized so far on paper as non-monogamous is our bank. Which is kind of hilarious when you think about it.